Common Problems in Clatsop Evictions
There are a number of common problems which come up over and over again in residential evictions. Landlords and property managers on the north coast should approach each potential eviction in an organized, consistent manner to ensure a smooth process and avoid or at least minimize potential problems. Below, we cover five common issues which create a problem with a residential eviction and lead to wasted time, energy, and money.
Forgetting to Include the Eviction Notice
Self-represented landlords and property managers should always bear in mind that while court staff are helpful and the court supplies selected self-help forms, it is also true that court staff are not authorized to provide people with legal advice.
Merely filing documents with the court does not mean that the court staff actually reviews and agrees with your documents, nor does it mean that a judge will then automatically review your documents.
When a self-represented landlord or property manager should always include the applicable eviction notice, in addition to the eviction complaint. If not, the complaint will be found defective, and a judge is likely to dismiss the eviction case. This is true even if the eviction notice itself is valid and was validly served on the tenant.
Failure to Draft a Valid Eviction Notice
Each eviction notice must satisfy all applicable laws, which can vary depending on the facts and circumstances which apply to a particular situation.
Each eviction notice should name all tenants, other known occupants, and “All Other Occupants.” Additionally, the eviction notice should be dated, explain when the eviction notice terminates, and whether a tenant may avoid an eviction by curing (i.e., fixing) the issues which lead to the eviction notice in the first place. Where nonpayment of rent is the basis for eviction, the eviction notice should explain exactly how much the tenant must pay in order to bring their rent current and the date by which the late rent should be paid. Where there are two or more bases for eviction, the eviction notice should provide the required information for each basis, even if all the information is provided in one eviction notice.
Finally, each eviction notice should include a veteran notice (even if the landlord or property manager believes none of the tenants or occupants are tenants).
The Lease does not Allow Nail-and-Mail Service
So-called “nail-and-mail” notice, also known as mail and attachment service, is a common method of serving a tenant with an eviction notice. In this type of notice, the landlord or property manager serves two types of notice: First, the eviction notice is posted in a designated location; second, the eviction notice is also mailed to the tenant by USPS first-class mail.
The benefit of nail-and-mail notice is that the notice period begins to immediately run, instead of having to add extra time for mailing.
In order to use nail-and-mail notice, the lease must include language that allows both sides to use such notice, not just the landlord or property manager. Additionally, the lease must reference a designated location for each party to post such notice.
Accepting Full or Partial Rent
Often, when a landlord or property manager begins to pursue an eviction notice, a tenant will tender full or partial payment for past due rent. Unless a tenant offers full payment for past due rent in a timely manner so as to avoid a for-cause eviction based on nonpayment of rent, a landlord or property manager should not accept any payment. Otherwise, a tenant will be able to argue that the landlord or property manager waived any basis for eviction, since acceptance of rent will be interpreted by a court as showing that the landlord or property manager decided to continue the landlord-tenant relationship.
Failure to Include “All Other Occupants”
When drafting an eviction notice, the landlord or property manager should reference all known tenants on the lease, all known occupants not on the lease, and “All Other Occupants.” Additionally, all such parties should be named in the eviction complaint when a landlord or property manager filed a forcible entry and detainer (“FED”) case to formally pursue an eviction case.
The landlord or property manager should always bear in mind that they may not be aware of all possible occupants who may claim a right to continue living at the rental property. Tenants do not always disclose which occupants are living at the rental property, even though the lease may require such disclosure.
If a landlord or property manager does not name all known tenants, as well as name “All Other Occupants,” they risk going through the entire eviction process successfully as to parties they name in the FED case, only to find out later that there are other occupants still living in the rental property. In such a scenario, the landlord’s or property manager’s only remedy would be to begin the eviction process all over again as to other occupants who were not covered in the first eviction case.
Residential landlord-tenant eviction situations illustrate the Benjamin Franklin axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While it is tempting to deal with tenants in an informal manner, especially if there have not been past problems, it is risky not to identify and follow the proper procedures. Mom-and-pop landlords in particular should manage their rental properties like a business and develop procedures to avoid or least minimize common mistakes.
Evictions for residential rental properties in Clatsop County, Oregon, are decided at the Clatsop County Circuit Court in Astoria, Oregon. This is true for all evictions for residential properties located throughout Clatsop County.
If you are a landlord or property manager and have questions about landlord-tenant issues on the north coast of Oregon, please contact Coast Land Law for a consultation about how you can best protect your rights. For residential landlord-tenant issues, we are dedicated to representing the interests of landlords and property managers. We have worked professional landlords who own large, multi-unit developments, as well as smaller mom-and-pop landlords. We work with clients who own or manage rental properties in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties.